If there was one "good" thing that came of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's that it led to a substantial spike in the popularity of gaming throughout 2020. As people were forced to stay indoors, they sought out means of entertaining themselves. Hence, video games.
While it would have been understandable for everything to stabilize as various regions around the world started relaxing movement restrictions, it seems like the demand for video games isn't going to lessen this year.
According to available consumer data, the gaming industry is doing very well.
Gaming consoles continue to sell at a rapid rate
June 2021 US NPD THREAD - June 2021 consumer spending across video game hardware, content and accessories grew 5% when compared to a year ago, totaling $4.9 billion. First half 2021 consumer spending reached $28.9 billion, a 15% increase when compared to the same period in 2020. pic.twitter.com/M9Wk1mNNaT
— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) July 16, 2021
Mat Piscatella, from the NPD Group, recently took to Twitter to share the findings of his company on how consumers in the video game sector spent their money.
As you can see from the data presented above, it is quite comprehensive. It shows figures for June, as well as the first half of 2021, and the last 12 months. In general, it seems like the gaming industry is doing rather well. Compared to June 2020, consumers are spending 5% more in June 2021. In total, there is a 15% increase in consumer spending for the first half of 2021 compared to the first half of 2020.
Hardware, in particular, seems to be the most in-demand in June this year. Total hardware spending jumped up to $401M, a 112% increase compared to June 2020. More importantly, this is the highest June total in more than a decade, with year-to-date figures showing a 45% total increase compared to the first half of 2020, and expenditure reaching $2.3B.
There's no denying that the popularity of video game hardware comes as a result of the release of the Xbox Series S/X and the PS5, which continue to sell well despite shortages.
Microsoft seemed to be particuarly enjoying itself in June as well. The Xbox Series X made the highest dollar sales figures in June compared to the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5. However, Sony's next-gen console isn't too far behind. It remains the fastest-selling console in U.S history and the DualSense wireless controllers continue to be a massive selling point over the competition.
Another interesting thing about the data from Piscatella is how well games have been selling recently. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart might not be the best game in its series, as per our rankings, but it did achieve "the highest launch month dollar sales of any title in franchise history." Meanwhile, Mario Golf: Super Rush also broke records and scored the highest dollar sales figures for a Mario Golf game.
TLDR; the video game industry is doing better than ever.
The most interesting tidbit here is the fact that there remains a shortage of computer chips that are used in the manufacturing of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles.
Analysts expect sales of the next-gen consoles to continue improving with the new Nintendo Switch OLED also predicted to sell well at launch.
As for the increase in sales of the Xbox Series S/X, one explanation is the Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft continues to improve the lineup of games for its video game subscription service. The most notable of which is the group of upcoming titles announced at E3 2021 that will be available on Game Pass at launch.